Over the years, many of us have crushed or thrown away our beer cans because we thought they had zero value to us. The truth is, a lot of antique beer cans are worth a lot of money, much more than the amount we spend on buying beer.
Beer can values have increased over the years, depending on how rare the old beer can is. For example, modern cans aren’t nearly worth as much as vintage beer cans.
This article will go through what gives old beer cans value and how you can accurately price your old beer cans’ value.
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What Makes Vintage Beer Cans Valuable?
Vintage beer cans are valuable because of their rarity, quality, and desirability. If your beer can doesn’t have these characteristics, it might not be worth much to you.
Most of your modern beer cans have little monetary value because they are everywhere and easy to find. In addition, their designs are common, so the cans are worth very little.
Vintage beer cans vary in design and other characteristics. Some of the old designs which are highly sought after include:
Flat Top Cans
Flat-top beer cans are vintage cans that don’t have pull tabs. Although many beer cans today have flat tops, these are special because they don’t have that small, metal disk with a ring on top that makes it easy to open.
Although it may seem odd, most beer cans didn’t come with this ring until they were introduced in 1962 and became highly popular. Before then, people used to open beer cans with a church key.
A church key is a can opener made of cast iron or steel and used to open cans with flat tops. It was so named because it resembled actual church keys then.
Since flat-top beer cans went out of use, they have become rare and valuable collectible items with a high estimated value.
When flat top cans first came into use, they were complicated to open, and many people didn’t have any ideas on how to open them. This is why many of the early beer cans of that design came with instructions on how to open them on the body.
So, if you have a beer can with this design and an opening instruction on the side, then you have a very old beer can with an original design. This means you can quickly charge more for it.
Cone Top Cans
Cone-top beer cans are beer cans with a cone at the top. They have a unique spout that makes them look funny and weird by today’s standards. At the top of the cone, you use a bottle cap to open it.
Three common beer cans come with a cone top, the J-spout, the high profile cone, and the low profile cone. These beer cans were popular from 1935 till 1960, and few have been made since then. For this reason, cone tops often command higher prices than regular beer cans.
These types of cans are similar to cone-top cans. They were prevalent as a form of old beer cans up until the 1960s. A crowntainer doesn’t have a pull tab. Instead, it has a crown cork that you can open with a crown bottle opener.
They are worth more than regular aluminum cans but are not in high demand like cone tops because many of them don’t have interesting graphics. However, they are still some of the most valuable old cans today.
19 Most Valuable Old Beer Cans Still Available Today
A beer can is not valuable just because it is old. Unfortunately, some so-called “vintage beer cans” that exist today are practically worthless or have very little value.
For example, a billy beer can is useless to you even though it was created in the 70s. In fact, some people even call the beer a “conman’s scheme” and claim it wasn’t drinkable.
This section will go through 19 examples of the most valuable beer cans, whether with a flat top, a cone top, or a crown at the top.
1. Old Ruppert Knickerbocker Beer Can $69.99
The Old Ruppert Knickerbocker Can may not be as valuable as most others on this list. It is a flat-top beer can, with many of them having surface dents and rusts on the side due to their old age.
It was manufactured in the 1950s by the Jacob Ruppert beer brand of New York. The Knickerbocker beer was the official beer brand of the New York Giants, an American football team based in the New York Metropolitan Area.
The brand ran until the 1960s, when it was acquired by another brewery and discontinued. Today, a limited edition Ruppert Knickerbocker beer can is worth about $69.99. You can purchase it at an auction or from online sites like eBay.
2. Hanley’s Ale Quart Beer Can
The Hanley’s Ale Quart Beer is a beer brand that was produced and famous between the 1930s and the 1950s. It was created, manufactured, and distributed by The James Hanley Co., a popular brewery in that period.
It was renowned for its taste back then, and now its beer cans have become vintage beer cans of high value.
It is a quart beer can, meaning it can hold two pints or a quarter of a gallon. In the US, this means 0.94 liters. It is also a cone top can, with a spout and crown cap at the top.
Most of Hanley’s beer cans have suffered severe rust and dents, but if you have one with slight handling marks, you can command up to $200 per beer can.
3. Queens Brau Beer Can
If you hadn’t heard of zip tops, then the Queens Brau Beer Can might be one of the most valuable ones you have ever heard about. A zip top is just like a flat top, but it has a zip tab that makes the opening look like a zip had been opened.
The Queens brewery made the Queens Brau Beer a great sensation during the years it was popular. Now, the beer cans are worth a good amount of dollars.
If you spent your childhood collecting hundreds of these cans, then you have racked up some thousands of dollars because one of these beer cans is now worth at least $75, according to its listing on eBay.
4. Ronz Beer Can
In the 1950s, the Columbus Brewing Company in Nebraska came to life. It brewed fresh beer on a cone-top beer can that no one would forget easily.
Ronz beer was not only renowned for its premium taste, but it also had a lovely can that everyone who handled it wanted to save. And those who save those cans till now are smiling to the bank for their sensible decision.
According to many sources, it currently has an estimated value of $800 or more.
5. Narragansett Select Stock Beer Can
The Narragansett Select Stock Beer was one of the good beers that held the US down in the 1940s. Apart from the unique taste, it had a memorable beer container.
The original Narragansett select stock beer can was a flat top with gold, green, and copper-colored texts all over its body. It also had beautiful designs like the beer company logo spread across the diagonal length of the can.
If you have a Narragansett select stock beer can in good condition, you can sell it for about $400.
6. The Famous Narragansett Banquet Beer Can
Narragansett may be the only company with more than one antique can on this list. Although it was popular for its select stock beer, it still had other essential types of beer in the 1940s. One of them was the Banquet Beer.
The famous Narragansett Banquet beer can is one of the few retro beer cans that Narragansett has. It has the same gold, copper, and red-colored lettering and design that all Narragansett cans are known to have.
You can get one of the cans for about 80 bucks on eBay.
7. Carling Black Label Beer Can
Another flat-topped can you want to look at is the Carling Black Label beer can. It is one of the newer flat top models, i.e., the ones without instructions for opening the can. This is despite the fact that it was made in the 1940s. It is also the type that doesn’t have a pull tab.
Some Carling black label beer cans have cone tops, but not this one we are talking about. If you have a Carling black label beer can still in good condition, you could sell it for $20 to $100.
8. Dutch Treat Premium Lager Beer Can
The Dutch treat premium lager beer was made in the 1960s by the Arizona Brewing Corporation. More than the unique taste of the lager, the beer is known for its exciting container.
Even though it is a flat top can without opening instructions, it is still rare and worth some good dollars. It is currently worth around $100 – $500, depending on the condition of your can.
9. Ballantine XXX Ale Beer Can
The Ballantine XXX Ale Beer Can is the beer can that was used to hold high-quality beer for the Ballantine brewing company in the 1930s. The Ballantine XXX beer was renowned for its premium lager-tasting beer, but its can was another beautiful aspect many missed.
Today, depending on the collector, you could sell it for a couple of hundred dollars. It is currently listed on eBay for $149.99.
10. E & B Premium Beer Can
The E & B premium beer came out in the 1950s with one of the most interesting flat-topped beer cans ever. Although it doesn’t contain opening instructions, it is rare and worth some good money.
According to an eBeer Cans estimate, you can get between $100 to $500 for each one you own.
11. Krueger’s Cream Ale Can
To see a flat-topped beer can with instructions on the side is a hard thing to do. That is why you have hit the lottery if you saved a couple of Krueger’s finest cans from the 1930s.
The beer container is made of steel, and the designs on the body are painted with enamel. It can hold up to 12 liquid ounces of beer, and you can sell it for anywhere between $500 to $1000
12. Regal Premium Beer Can
Beer canning is a beautiful, intricate art, and the people at American Brewing Corporation have mastered that art over the years. The Regal premium beer can is an excellent example of their beautiful work.
It was created in the 1950s and had no instructions on the side, but it is still a masterpiece regardless. There are many estimates, but if you can put some of these cans together, you can make anywhere between $100 and $500 for each one.
13. Canco Test Beer Can
The Canco test beer can might have been the first flat-top beer can ever. It was created in the 1930s by the American Can Co. as a prototype to show how flat-topped cans without stay tabs would work. It was often filled with air and occasionally with beer.
Today, a can of Canco test beer is worth between $1,000 and $5,000.
14. Old St. Louis Beer Can
The old St. Louis Beer Can is a beer can from the Old St. Louis beer produced by the ABC brewing corporation in the 1930s. The beer was first manufactured in 1937 and became one of the most popular beer brands in the St. Louis area in Missouri and nationwide.
Till today, its old beer cans are still precious and rare. It is one of the few flat-top beer cans with opening instructions on the body. This makes it extremely valuable and rare, as only cans made in the 1930s have instructions on their body.
St. Louis beer can values can vary depending on the version you have. If you have the early version of the can with the instructions on the side, you can ask for up to $9,500 for a single beer can.
15. Gunther’s Beer Can
A Gunther’s beer can is every serious collector’s dream vintage beer can. The American Can Company produced the can in 1935.
On the other hand, the beer was brewed by the Gunther Brewing company, quickly becoming one of its most valuable beer brands.
The Gunther can is a flat top can, but it doesn’t have a ring to open it at the top.
All Gunther cans are highly valuable, but they are not all created equal. Regular Gunther cans are worth a lot of money, but a design was made as a prototype for the brand label. That design was the first of its kind and is in small supply today.
Even better, some limited edition Gunther cans come with the original permit and a patent-pending statement. This patent-pending statement has a provenance that connects it to the Jim plant collection.
Some Gunther cans also come with opening instructions, which make them extremely rare. Finally, thanks to the clean design by the Gunther Brewing Company, this beer can stands out compared to others of its kind.
According to estimates, if you have this original design in mint condition, you can easily command between $5,000 to $10,000 for each Gunther Can.
16. Tally-Ho Ale Can
If you are a serious vintage beer can collector, you know not to miss an opportunity to acquire a Tally ho ale beer can. This old beer can has been worth a lot since it first rolled out of the canning line.
Surprisingly, the Tally-ho beer can is one of the few expensive vintage cans not manufactured by the American can company. It was manufactured and brewed by the City brewing corporation between 1936 and 1940 in the state of New York.
The short period of production of this beer can might have something to do with why it is so rare and valuable today. However, it is without question that the beauty of the can’s design is the most crucial factor that makes it worth a lot of money.
Like many other vintage beer cans, the Tally ho beer can is a cone-top can, meaning it has a cone-shaped spout with a crown at the top. The body has a design with a gold color background and a picture of a stagecoach.
The colors are alive and conspicuous, which adds to the can’s value. So, if you have a Tally-ho can with the color fading, it may not be worth as much as you would expect.
You can sell your Tally-ho beer can for around $2,500 to $25,000 at an online or live auction.
17. Rheingold Pale Double Bock Beer Can
Another valuable beer can with a flat top is the Rheingold Pale Double Bock, designed and manufactured by the American can co. in the 1930s. The beer was brewed by a company renowned for producing canned beer — Liebmann Breweries, Inc., in New York.
Looking at the beer can, it is easy to understand why it is so valuable. The design is impeccable, with a gold background and a white inner background for the label of Liebmann Breweries.
Like other old beer cans, all Rheingold beer cans were not created equal. However, if you have the earlier designs in good condition, you’ll likely command better money for your can. This is because the early designs of this beer can are incredibly scarce.
If you have an original design of the Rheingold beer can, you can sell it for between $8,000 and $20,000 at online or live auctions.
18. The New Yorker Beer Can
The New Yorker beer can is one of the most valuable beer cans in existence and also one of the most popular. Every serious beer can collector has come across or purchased one or many New yorker beer cans.
Like many other popular cans, the American can company created the original version of this can. The can is flat-topped with deep blue background. A red design on it shows the side view of some of New York’s finest buildings.
In May 2019, a New Yorker flat top Vanity Lid sold for $3,100 at a live auction. However, many beers can collectors estimate a single New Yorker can to be worth around $5,000 – $10,000.
The New Yorker beer is still in production, with new, beautiful cans, but nothing beats the original blue and red design. Perhaps that is why it is worth as much as it is now.
19. The Apache Export Can
We end with what is the most expensive beer can in the world, the Apache export beer can. Apache beer was created in the 1930s by the Continental Can Company.
It has become one of the most valuable beer cans because of its beautiful label design of a Native American Apache Indian in a black pattern with a rich gold metallic background.
It is also a cone-topped can, meaning it has a spout on top of the can with a crown cap. A good Apache beer can in pristine condition can attract a premium price because of its high market value and beautiful graphics.
It is estimated to be worth between $10,000 to $30,000 per can to serious collectors.
You may need to get a second opinion, but hopefully, reading this article will guide you on how you can buy and sell antique beer cans quickly.
Many people don’t know it, but those old and rusty beer cans might be worth a lot of money if you know how and where to sell them. You can also check with organizations like the Brewery Collectibles Club of America to learn more about the value of the ones you own.